While many complain in the United Kingdom about the government pushing the retirement age up to 68, 80-year-old Alan Redfern is still going strong as assistant director of the General Conference Auditing Service (GCAS) at the Trans-European Division office in St Albans, England.
Redfern, who started working for GCAS as an associate auditor in 1990, can still be seen mounting the stairs every morning, and is often found at the piano, leading morning worship. A man who very much lives his faith, he is also first-elder of the St Albans Seventh-day Adventist church.
Born in Manchester, England on February 7, 1937, Redfern became a chartered accountant (similar to the certified public accountant designation in the United States) in 1960. Even before taking up church employment, he willingly gave of his time to support its mission. By 2002 he rose to the position of assistant director, and by 2011 became GCAS senior regional manager.
“I think his main motivation is enjoying his work and enjoying helping people.”
Married to Joyce Redfern, his wife of 52 years, he rejoices in two children, Ian and Kristina, along with six grandsons. With all that he still finds time to learn new languages, read, play the piano, and increase what his son Ian calls, “his truly encyclopaedic knowledge of a remarkable number of subjects.” His is the first name on the team sheet for any quiz or game of trivial pursuit!
Why is he still working at 80? Ian says, “I think his main motivation is enjoying his work and enjoying helping people.” Colleagues would agree. During a surprise TED staff celebration his current boss, Sandra Grice, talked about his “good sprit” and how he is “always willing to learn and grow – and share his knowledge with others.”
Vera Gietzmann works with Redfern at the GCAS office. She said “he is the most amazing colleague I’ve ever worked with.” She noted his patience and calmness, “even when he may need to explain something for the 1,000th time!”
While Redfern is old enough to remember developing his own accounting program in DOS on 10” floppy disks in the 1970’s, he is still young enough to joke about his future. During the party, surrounded by the staff he regards as friends, he quoted his favorite Bible passage, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV]
“With that promise,” he said, “I am now ready to face the next 20 years.”